Eschew cliches like a toxic waste dump

A quick way to strengthen your writing is to replace (or just avoid altogether) overused expressions and phrases. Such expressions and phrases are known as clichés. They include terms such as “avoid like the plague”, “beat around the bush” or “kiss of death”.

Such expressions are so overused that they’ve lost their force. While most readers understand the point being made by a cliché, few understand the origin of and meaning behind the expression. In addition, because of their overuse, clichés sound trite.

Rather than rely on clichés, writers who’ve mastered their craft develop more clever ways of expressing an idea or feeling. These clever expressions delight readers. After all, part of the fun of reading is seeing how writers play with words. Putting them together in unique, evocative ways isn’t just fun for the reader – it’s part of the joy of writing.

You can rewrite sentences using clichés by thinking of an analogy for the cliché. For example, instead of “airing dirty laundry,” you might say, “He dumped a trash can full of his problems over me.”


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.